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Sugar-Substitute found in Human Foods is Extremely Toxic for Dogs

Update Date: Nov 04, 2015 09:26 AM EST

Sugar-substitute, Xylitol, can be extremely toxic to dogs.

Xylitol, which can be found in sugar-free gum and candy, chewable vitamins and sometimes peanut butter, is safe for humans to eat. When dogs ingest it, however, it can cause low blood pressure, liver failure and seizures. The smallest amount can lead to potentially fatal symptoms with the substance being about 100 times as poisonous as chocolate for dogs.

Due to the surge in cases of xylitol poisoning, animal welfare organizations have been focused on spreading awareness. These groups are urging companies to add warning labels to all of their products that contain xylitol.

They and veterinarians are also reminding dog owners to always check the list of ingredients on the products that they are buying, especially if they plan on sharing those foods with their pups. If certain products contain xylitol, pet owners should move them to the top shelf or in drawers so that their animals cannot get to it.

"You just have to be really careful because dogs are nosy little creatures and they're hungry all of the time," Ashley Gallagher of Friendship Hospital said reported by CBS Philly. "You have to really watch them."

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) reported that from 2004 to 2014, the number of calls in regards to xylitol that were made to its poison control center increased drastically from 82 to 3,700.

The Pet Poison Helpline at another center received 2,800 calls about potential xylitol ingestion. Dr. Ahna Brutlag, who is the senior veterinary toxicologist at the center, stated that in 2009, there were only 300 calls.

"There are still a lot of dog owners who have never heard of xylitol, nor do they understand that something this benign, an ordinary sweetener, could be toxic to pets," Dr. Brutlag said reported by FOX News.

For more information on xylitol and how it can affect your pets, click here.

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